MOSCOW, August 21 (Itar-Tass) — Russia will be through with the elimination of its chemical weapons stockpiles in 2015, the chief of the federal directorate for the safe keeping and elimination of chemical weapons, Colonel Vladimir Mandych told a news conference on Tuesday.
“The deadline for ridding Russia of chemical weapons stockpiles is December 31, 2015,” he said.
At present Russia is implementing the federal program for the elimination of chemical weapons stockpiles adopted back in 1996. The elimination work consists of four stages. Mandych said Russia had completed three phases and was now working on the fourth.
“There have been no fundamental problems with financing it,” he said. “The program’s costs stand at 371 billion rubles. So far 226 billion rubles has been spent.”
As the deputy chief of the chemical weapons elimination directorate has said, Russia has eliminated 26,500 tonnes of chemical weapons – about 66 percent of the total amount.
Russia is in the fourth, last chemical weapons elimination phase, which is also the most complex one.
“We are to do away with the most dangerous pieces of ammunition of complex design,” Mandych said. “Their elimination is very costly and risky.”
Besides, the 7,000 pieces of ammunition in substandard condition pose great risks.
As the deputy chief of the chemical weapons disposal directorate said there is no alternative to eliminating chemical weapons.
“At present chemical weapons cannot be used as a deterrent,” he explained.
In its chemical weapons elimination effort Russia relies on assistance from 15 countries, including EU members and the United States.
“Basically, they provide equipment or fund the construction of disposal facilities,” Mandych said.
Russia has four operational chemical weapons disposal facilities. Two have been closed down and one is still under construction.